Seniors need to be more careful of overheating and heat stroke because their bodies can’t adjust to high temperatures as well as younger bodies can. And older adults are more likely to be dehydrated, which increases their risk. In fact, 36% of heat-related deaths in the U.S. were among people over age 65, according to a CDC report. To keep seniors safe and comfortable, we’ve rounded up 10 practical, senior-friendly ways to help them stay cool indoors.
Why seniors are more vulnerable to heat In hot weather, it’s best for older adults to stay indoors and avoid strenuous activities because:
- Their bodies don’t adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature
- Chronic medical conditions can change their body responses to heat
- Prescription medicines can impair the body’s ability to regulate temperature or could actually prevent sweating
10 ways for seniors to stay cool in hot weather
1. Drink plenty of cool water throughout the day (don’t wait until they feel thirsty) and avoid alcohol and caffeine
2. Eat cooling snacks like homemade popsicles (Tip: catch drips with a cupcake liner), frozen peas, or slightly frozen grapes
3. Eat light, cold meals like chicken or pasta salad instead of heavy, hot dishes like pot roast
4. Place a cool washcloth on the back of the neck and a pan of cool water close by to periodically re-cool the towel
5. Sit with feet in a pan of cool (but not too cold) water
6. Keep the house as cool as possible by keeping shades closed during the hottest part of the day and using inexpensive solar curtains
7. Wear layers of lightweight clothing in light colored cotton so it’s easy to adjust to the temperature throughout the day by removing or adding layers
8. Visit a public cooling center like a recreation center, senior center, library, coffee shop, or shopping mall
9. Take a cool shower, bath, or washcloth wipe-down. For maximum cooling, keep the water just below body temperature.
10. Cover up with a flexible ice blanket – always use a towel to protect fragile senior skin from direct contact with the ice